The recorded history of WRCT begins in 1949, when we began as a project by a group of engineering students and professors who had an interest in radio broadcasting. The station originally broadcasted on AM carrier current, reaching just a few of the academic rooms and offices for about 6-12 hours a day. In the 1950s, WRCT (or, Radio Carnegie Tech) was broadcasting at 900 AM to about half of the academic buildings on campus, including a few dormitories. WRCT formalized into a student organization ran by volunteer students, staff, and faculty—much like it is today.

On March 1st, 1974, WRCT moved from the AM carrier current (that was still only reaching on-campus destinations) to 88.3 MHz FM. We were powered with 10 watts, capable of reaching all parts of campus and a short distance beyond. While it was our first time as a community broadcaster, WRCT already had 25 years of broadcasting under its belt. By the mid-1980s we had increased our power to 100 watts, broadcasting to the city of Pittsburgh and our neighbors at the top of the hills.

In 1988, we began fighting to maximize our power, and after five years of legal debate with competing radio broadcasters we finally received permission in 1994 to increase power to 1750 watts in the North, South, and West and 680 watts in the east. In 2008, we even got a brand-new transmitter, so WRCT can be heard clearly 15 miles from the CMU campus (and even further if you’re in the right place). In addition to being accessible from every radio dial in the Pittsburgh region, we can also be streamed from anywhere in the world here online, right here at wrct.org.

Now WRCT celebrates more than 60 years of radio broadcasting. As a free-form radio broadcaster, we are committed to providing quality alternatives to the mainstream commercial programming that dominates the radio. Our DJs, Public Affairs hosts, and other staff members are not only Carnegie Mellon students, staff, and faculty, but also community members from the Pittsburgh area, some of whom have more than 30 years of radio broadcasting experience under their belts. We pride ourselves in our substantively diverse programming. So whether you’re interested in West African rock, kitchen sink recordings, local independent news programming or Latin American culture, WRCT has a program for you.

Join us!

Email the Training Director at training@wrct.org to get involved!


WRCT is grateful for our underwriting partnerships with the following local organizations:

If you have need of the services of our partners, please consider using them.
If your organization is interested in finding out more about underwriting and other partnership opportunities with WRCT, please contact the underwriting group.

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